Music By Prudence

2010 Academy Award© Winner for Best Documentary Short


This 2010 Academy Award® Winner for Best Documentary Short tells the story of a young woman named Prudence, who has a rare congenital disability, and her Afro-fusion band Liyana - all musicians living with disabilities.

Born with arthrogryposis, a disorder that affects the joints, Prudence Mabhena suffered as a child in her native Zimbabwe, where disabled children are commonly believed to be the result of witchcraft and often neglected or disowned. She was abandoned by her parents and raised by her maternal grandmother until the age of seven when she was sent to live with her father and his new wife. Lacking money for her education, Prudence was kept home, belittled and neglected by
her father and stepmother for two years. Yet fortune smiled on Prudence when she received a scholarship to the King George VI School & Centre for Children with Physical Disabilities .There she found acceptance from caregivers and disabled students alike. Soon she was singing, writing and composing music for Liyana, an Afro-fusion musical group she founded with seven classmates - Farai Mabhande, Energy Maburutse, Marvelous Mbulo, Honest Mupatse, Tapiwa Nyengera, Goodwell Nzou and Vusani Vuma, all who live with physical disabilities ranging from muscular dystrophy to hemophilia. Liyana means "it's raining" in Ndebele, the language of an agricultural society that views rain as a blessing from God.

'Music By Prudence' shares Prudence's often poignant and inspiring story in her own words and lyrics. Charismatic, irreverent and independent, Prudence found the loving, supportive family she always sought in the other members of Liyana. Weaving together intimate interviews with Prudence, friendly bantering among band members and life-affirming concert footage, 'Music By Prudence' is a moving tribute to the courage and determination that art and music can inspire.

The soundtrack for 'Music By Prudence' will be released digitally by Mi5/EMI on May 7.

'Music By Prudence' is directed and produced by Roger Ross Williams; produced by Elinor Burkett; director of photography, Derek Wiesehahn; camera, Errol Webber Jr.; editor, Geeta Gandbhir; co-producer and associate editor, Patrick Wright; music produced by Ted Mason. For HBO: supervising producer, Sara Bernstein; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

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